Gigabyte first launched the Sabre series of gaming laptops in 2017. Prior to this, they produced the premium and expensive Aorus and Aero laptops, or plain looking multimedia models that just sat under the Gigabyte brand.
The Sabre series was their budget-friendly option with proper gaming laptop features and a suitable sub-$1000 price tag to draw in consumers. At this price range, it gave consumers the option of a cheaper gaming laptop that was closer in size to the Dell XPS 15 than it was to a standard gaming model.
The newly refreshed specs have replaced the Kaby Lake i7-7700HQ four core / eight thread CPU with a new Coffee Lake i7-8750H six core / 12 thread processor. The i7-8750H has a base clock speed of 2.2 GHz and a max boost of 4.1 GHz depending on the number of threads being used and the thermal output at the time.
The graphics card is unchanged from last year’s model, with the choice of either a GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, or GTX 1060. The GTX 1050 will play everything at 1080p but will require lower graphics settings for high-performance games like Witcher 3 or Assassin’s Creed: Origins. The GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 will happily handle high/ultra settings respectively and continue to provide a more detailed gaming experience into the future.
Starting at US$1299 for the GTX 1050 model, the new Sabre 15 and Sabre 17 aren’t exactly the bargain deal that their predecessor was. If you look around, you’ll find alternatives like the Dell G3 and G5 or Acer Nitro 5 with similar specifications for less money. If you move closer to the Sabre’s price range, then you can find options like the Acer Helios 300 with more powerful GTX 1060 for a similar price to the lowest spec’d Sabre.
But this year the Sabre doesn’t appear to be trying to bring the fastest performance to the lowest price point. It looks to us like Gigabyte is hoping to capture those who want the ‘extras,’ such as a full RGB keyboard. The 2 mm of key travel is less than a standalone keyboard but is decent for a laptop — there are a lot of notebooks out there with 1.3 to 1.8 mm of travel.
There is a fairly usual gaming laptop port layout of two USB3, USB-C, RJ45 LAN, mic, 3.5 mm jack, SD card reader, and DC jack. Among these, however, is a combination of HDMI 1.4b, Mini DP 1.2, and Mini DP 1.3 for triple external monitors. One of the mini DisplayPort plugs is directly connected to the dedicated GPU (ideal for G-sync monitors) instead of the common solution of being piped through the integrated HD 620 graphics on Nvidia Optimus equipped hardware. The internal display is a FullHD 1920 x 1080 panel that displays 72% NTSC. The GTX 1060 equipped versions of the Sabre 15 and 17 include a 120 Hz display option with 3 ms response time. Battery capacity is low at 47 Wh, especially for the 17-inch model.
Prices for the refreshed Gigabyte Sabre 15 and Sabre 17 start at US$1299. The Sabre 15 measures 378 x 267 x 26.9 mm (14.8 x 10.5 x 1.0 inches) and 2.2 kg (4.8 pounds). The Sabre 17 measures 419 x 289 x 27.4 mm (16.5 x 11.4 x 1.1 inches) and 2.7 kg (5.9 pounds).
Some versions of the Sabre 15 are starting to appear on Amazon now.